The decision to work with a surrogate for family building is not often made quickly. Relying on another person – or people! – to make this dream a reality can be a challenge.
Intended parents often report feeling frustration and a loss of control if they must rely on the help of a third party. For some, the idea of a surrogate sister or friend carrying the baby helps assuage some of these negative feelings. Unfortunately, this option does not come without its own risks and challenges.
Many intended parents assume that the surrogacy cost will decrease significantly using a family member or friend. Avoiding an agency fee and legal costs may seem appealing at the outset, but as any intended parent who has gone through the process without that expertise and protection can tell you, you still face the risk of paying with time, energy and even more frustration and fees in the long run.
Perhaps the surrogate agrees to go through the process without compensation, or with only reimbursement for basic costs. Unfortunately, this doesn’t account for all of the potential variables the surrogate may encounter during the pregnancy. Perhaps she is put on bed rest and must take a leave of absence from work. Not only could she be losing a paycheck, but she may need to be paying someone to care for her own children. Without a contract in place, this could place an extreme financial burden on her and her family.
When you cut out the agency, you also cut many of the checkpoints that ensure a smooth process. Will you run a background check on a known surrogate? What about a psychological screening? These are all standard procedure with a reputable agency and help ensure that the gestational carrier is in a good place mentally and financially to take on a surrogacy journey.
Agencies, attorneys, and legal contracts are all in place for protection. Many states have laws that require a surrogacy agreement under the guidance of a lawyer. The last thing intended parents – or the surrogate – wants is for custody to be challenged because there are no legal documents in place. The goal is for the process to be as smooth, safe and secure for everyone involved, and that means not cutting any corners.
In the end, the surrogacy cost using a family member or friend is debatable. You must give deep consideration to how this could impact and change your relationship, and not always for the better. Surrogacy is a journey that is wrought with emotion, and it’s complex in even the most ideal situations.
While your friend may be a wonderful person – and she clearly is if she’s offered you the incredible gift of surrogacy – it doesn’t mean she’s the best option to carry your child. And while you, as the potential surrogate, have the best of intentions, it may ultimately be better for you to support your friend’s journey to parenthood in other ways.
To learn more about how ConceiveAbilities can provide guidance for your surrogacy needs, please visit our website and connect with our expert staff.
All Things Conceivable is a blog dedicated to sharing the knowledge and expert opinions of the dedicated team at ConceiveAbilities, a Chicago-based egg donation and surrogacy agency.